Welcome to Western Mining History

Incredible Photos of Boom Town Tent Cities

Randsburg, California Tent Saloon

The discovery of gold or silver in the West was usually followed by a rush of people attempting to arrive at the new district first to get established in mining or business. New mining camps were hastily constructed out of materials that could be easily transported over great distances and on difficult terrain. The most  Continue Reading

Journigan’s Mill – Death Valley National Park

Water tanks at Journigan's Mill

Journigan’s Mill was built in the 1930’s at a site in Emigrant Canyon that was near several springs. Water is Death Valley’s most precious resource, and mills were usually located where there was access to springs nearby. During the course of the mills roughly twenty years of operation, water would be piped to the site  Continue Reading

The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns of Death Valley

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, built in 1877, are one of the best preserved and largest examples of historic charcoal kilns in the West. The kilns are located in the western part of Death Valley National Park, in Wildrose Canyon. This part of the park is an excellent destination for camping and hiking so if you  Continue Reading

The Mackay Mansion of Virginia City, Nevada

The Mackay Mansion in 2018

The Mackay Mansion in Virginia City, Nevada is one the Comstock Lode's oldest and best preserved buildings. Built 1860, the mansion was originally the offices of the Gould and Curry Mining Company, as well as housing for the mine superintendent.  Continue Reading

Underground Hoist Room Construction Captured in Photo Series

Large underground mines often have important infrastructure and facilities built in underground chambers, hundreds or thousands of feet below the surface. Storage facilities, repair shops, and even modern hoist houses can be found deep within the mines. These facilities weren’t often captured in photographs, so it is a rare treat to be able to see  Continue Reading

Arrastras Illustrated in These Historical Photos

Water-powered arrastra at Dixie, Idaho

The remains of mining-era arrastras are fairly common in the West, but what exactly are they? The short answer is that the arrastra was the most primitive method used to crush ore into a fine enough powder that the precious metals could be separated from the host rock. While many people are familiar with the  Continue Reading